May 16, 2006
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State’s assistant tennis coach Nick Crowell was named the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Mideast Region Men’s Tennis Assistant Coach of the Year, the organization announced Monday. Crowell, who just completed his third season with the Seminoles, becomes a finalist for the national award, which will be announced on May 22.
Crowell, a former two-time All-American at the University of Texas, and head coach Dwayne Hultquist teamed up three seasons ago and since then FSU men’s tennis has emerged as one of the top programs in the nation.
“Nick brings a lot of dedication, energy and enthusiasm to our program,” said Hultquist. “He has spent a lot of time individually with each of our players and does a great job of recruiting the top players in the country.”
Since Crowell’s arrival in 2004, the Seminoles have advanced to the NCAA Championship every season, won sixty percent of their matches, and shattered several team records along the way, including the programs first-ever trip to the NCAA Elite Eight in 2005. Most recently, Crowell was a big factor in the recent success of junior Ytai Abougzir, who became the first Seminole in 12 seasons to qualify for both the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championship.
“Nick is always the guy who is out there everyday from early in the morning until the evening,” said Abougzir, the team’s No. 1 singles player. “He genuinely wants us to succeed and he always gives extra. He never says no and always pushes us to the max every single day. Off the court, Nick is a good mentor. He is like one of the guys and always looks out for us. He doesn’t take things too serious and keeps it cool. As an athlete, you can’t help but enjoy playing for someone like Nick.”
In his first year with the Seminoles during the 2004 season, FSU reached heights it hadn’t seen since the mid-1990s. The Tribe’s second trip to the national summit was their first back-to-back appearances since the 1997-98 campaigns and they ended the 2004 year ranked for the 11th season in a row with a 10-13 record.
In 2005, Hultquist and Crowell led the Tribe to a Cinderella-run that included a trip to the NCAA Elite Eight and Sweet Sixteen for the first time in school history. Florida State also finished with its highest-ever national ranking on No. 13 and stamped in the record book its first 20-plus win season since 1985.
After a few months off, the pair of Seminole coaches hit the ground running in the fall of 2005 and led their troop to an impressive fall campaign. For their efforts, Florida State not only earned the school’s first invitation to the USTA/ITA National Men’s Team Indoor Championship, but it also garnered an impressive preseason ranking of No. 11 by the ITA.
The 2006 season found the Seminoles concluding the year with a respectable 18-12 record with arguably the hardest strength of schedule in the nation. Florida State’s 18 wins tied as the second-most number of program victories in the last 16 seasons. FSU advanced to the second round of the NCAA Championship and made the school’s first four-peat appearance in the Big Dance since its run of five consecutive trips from 1994-98.
The success of Crowell doesn’t stop off the court. Thanks to incoming freshmen Jean Yves Aubone, Bobby Deye and Bradley Mixson, Florida State will boast the No. 1 recruiting classes in the nation come next season.
Crowell, 27, is a native of Amarillo, Texas.